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Devlearn 09 - Day 1

I’m in cold San Jose this week attending Devlearn 2009.

The first day keynote was by Andrew McAfee. He is the author of a recently published book, Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges.

I’m not going to describe the subject of his talk; there are many blogs that have done that already (here and here).

It was a nice talk and he gave many pointers. But he made no attempt to bridge the gap between Enterprise 2.0 and Learning 2.0. Or answer questions like ‘how Enterprise 2.0 can be used to leverage Learning 2.0?’

Maybe the breakout sessions were meant to do just that – and there were many, many sessions that had social media and especially Twitter in their agenda. This surprised me a lot, in a negative way. 

I found that there is a very big hype on using social media for learning. Many are talking about it and there seems to be a divide between those who have experimented with it or have a program for it and those who are just trying to grapple with their day-to-day learning challenges. The 2.0ers feel elevated, hip, trendy and scoff at the those who are still trying to make the best of taxpayer or shareholder money by being conservative and seeking out what works.

But all of this talk on social media I heard had a lot to say about the media part but very little on the learning part. They are still advocating the creating and access to content with very little attention on why this is being done and how is it going to help learning and improve performance in the long run. The systems view I think is missing here. The mantra seems to be “get social and you’ll learn”. This has a lot to say about the maturity of Learning 2.0.

Talking about maturity, there were many talks that were just blasts from the past – “How to grab attention”, “How to use video effectively”, etc. All I can say is, WOW!

Here is my frank opinion on the first day – the talks did not excite me but they did give me a good picture of the e-learning landscape in the US. It shows me what people are busy with and what they are experimenting with and what we can expect to see in the next few years. The total experience is more than the sum of the parts I guess.

But I can tell you what excited me – meeting Jay Cross. Here we are, two individuals on opposite sides of the planet, engrossed in each other’s work for over 10 years but never having met face-to-face. Then I finally see him and what a joy it was.


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